Written by Jen Finn
Calif. crabber gets Maine boat; oak keel laid for lobster boat
In Steuben, Maine, RP Boat Shop has completed a number of boats for commercial fishermen, including some in Canada and California as well as Maine.
The boat going to California is a Willis Beal–designed 40-footer that will be a crabber. (All the boats built by RP Boat Shop are designed by Beals Island's Willis Beal.) It was scheduled to leave for the West Coast at the end of August. She'll have a Cummins QSM11 main engine matched up to a ZF marine gear with a 2.5:1 reduction and a 34" x 38" prop.
Richard "Dickie" Pinkham, one of the RP Boat Shop's owners, says the boat will be arranged just like a Maine lobster boat only with a different hauling arrangement for crabbing, which will be put on the boat once it gets to California.
A 31-footer was trucked north as a kit boat — top and hull — to Lubec, Maine, and then across the bridge connecting Maine with the New Brunswick island of Campobello. The boat will be lobstering out of Campobello.
Millard Crowley, a Beals Island, Maine, lobsterman had RP Boat Shop build and finish off a 35-footer for him. Crowley's boat, the Betty Rose, is a low-sheer version, with a 460-hp Caterpillar for power. Pinkham says the boat hits 23 to 24 knots.
RP Boat Shop is also doing a kit boat for Friendship, Maine, fisherman Jacob Lee.
Pinkham says this summer he has received the most inquiries from Southern states for a new boat in the past 10 years. Most of these are from owners of charter fishing boats. "Once they get a view of a Down East hull, and they realize it gives them a good ride and has speed, they like it," Pinkham says.
Farrin's Boatshop in Walpole, Maine, recently finished off two fiberglass hulls as lobster boats for Maine fishermen. The first one was a 35-foot Mitchell Cove hull for Matinicus Island's Charles Rodgers.
The Miss Sunshine has a 375-hp John Deere diesel with a wet exhaust, an on-demand hydraulic pump and a 14-inch hauler and winter back. It has a top-end speed of 22 knots and cruises at 18 knots.
The boat's plywood, fiberglass and cedar-planked deck is relatively unusual, though the boatshop's owner, Bruce Farrin, says, "We've done a couple like this." He adds that the cedar planking was coated in "the old fashion way." That concoction is a mixture of pine tar, turps and linseed oil that was put on after the seams were filled with 3M's 5200 marine sealant.
The second lobster boat was built from a 35-foot RP Boat Shop hull and went to Michael Fossett, who fishes out of South Bristol. Like Rodger's boat, Fossett's Mystic Rose has on-demand hydraulics, a winter back and a 375-hp John Deere.
Unlike Rodger's boat, Fossett's Mystic Rose has a cage over its prop, so she's a little slower, running 17 knots at top end and cruising at 16 knots.
Any fisherman looking for a 36-foot hull from Wayne Beal's Boat Shop in Jonesport should check out the spec boat that Farrin's Boatshop is starting the first part of September.
A John Deere 375-hp diesel is scheduled to go in the boat, but Farrin says that could change if a buyer comes along by October and wants another engine.
About 10 minutes from Farrin's shop, John's Bay Boat Co. in South Bristol, laid the oak keel for a lobster boat the third week of August. The 42' x 15' 4" wooden lobster boat is for Ed Grant of York. This is Grant's second lobster boat from John's Bay Boat Co., says Peter Kass, the shop's owner. The first one was built six or seven years ago, but Grant wanted a bigger boat, Kass says. The previous one was 41' x 14' 6".
The boat will have a split wheelhouse and, as Kass says, "the nice things," such as varnished mahogany, teak and raised panel doors. The platform will be fir.
Kass has orders for three more wooden lobster boats after this one is finished. He just completed a 43-foot lobster yacht for a Maine owner.
The O'Hara Corp. in Rockland, Maine, purchased the 20-, 32-, 35- and 37-foot molds for the Mitchell Cove hulls and is building the hulls in one of its buildings on Tillson Avenue. — Michael Crowley
Oyster boats dredge with jets; steel, foam and cement get fix
Stewart Everest admits it took a bit of coaxing to get the owners of the oyster boats he's been building comfortable with the idea of using water jet propulsion. But once they realized the jets allowed the boats to dredge in 3 feet of water and go through areas they wouldn't otherwise be able to go, they gladly accepted the idea.
Everest, who runs Everest Marine in Burlington, Wash., launched the third aluminum oyster dredge for Coast Seafoods Co. in Bellevue, Wash., on Aug. 1. This one measures 64' x 18'. Two more boats are slated to be built, one for oysters and one for Penn Cove Shellfish in Coupeville, Wash., which will use it for mussel farming. Penn Cove Shellfish's Ian Jefferds works with Everest designing the boats.
Each of the boats has been built with a single 24-inch Traktor Jet from North American Marine Jet that runs off the power of a 330-hp John Deere. Everest says there is a possibility one of the remaining boats will be outfitted with a pair of water jets.
The oyster dredge boat Everest just completed features a stainless steel deck with a 45-foot conveyor running from the aft house, down the deck's centerline and then protruding over the bow.
When it's time to unload, the side decks are tilted up with hydraulic rams to drop oysters onto the conveyor. The oysters drop off the end of the conveyor onto a conveyor coming out of the plant, so, Everest says, unloading will be much faster than in the past.
To reduce the hull's windage, the working deck has very low freeboard, 37 inches at amidships. Everest built the boat to meet Coast Guard requirements for oceangoing craft. That includes frames every 3 feet, longitudinals and four watertight bulkheads. The boat is "egg crated every 30 inches," he says. That's a lot of welding: 75 miles of welding wire, according to Everest.
Switching to steel boats, Fashion Blacksmith in Crescent City, Calif., had the 80-foot crabber and shrimper Darin Alan in last year to change over the bulwarks and flush-deck the hatches. This year a new net reel was mounted on the stern for shrimping, but the majority of the work has been below deck. The fish hold was torn out to be replaced with a new foam and fiberglass hold. The shaft alley was replaced, new deck supports installed, and new fuel lines and hydraulic lines installed.
The Darin Alan was built in the 1970s in the Gulf of Mexico, says Ted Long, general manager at Fashion Blacksmith.
"It was not a foam and fiberglass hold; it was cement and foam with slurry cement over it," Long says. Those materials have been deteriorating, and moisture has gotten under the cement and foam, and the condition of the plating beneath the hold needed to be checked.
Deterioration was also a problem in the shaft alley. When the boat was built, the shaft alley was only taken down to the top of the frames and then cement was poured to seal everything up. "That had deteriorated over the years," Long says.
The new shaft alley goes all the way down to the hull plating, and at 4 feet, it is wider than the original.
"The sides of the shaft alley went above the top by four inches, and that's used as a sump," Long says. "It's a novel thing, compared to one side of the shaft alley being a ditch or channel that acts as a sump. Now the top acts as a sump and a collection box is at the forward end."
And with the 4-foot-wide shaft alley, the unloader box used to unload the crab can slide fore and aft along the shaft alley, without the boat's crew worrying about it breaking up the fiberglass and foam crab hold.
The third week in August, the 85-foot Fish Wish, a Dungeness crab and hake boat, was due for a new stern tube. It has corroded from the inside out.
Two years ago, the boat was in to have circulation plumbing for the crab tanks replaced because the piping had rotted out. Seamed piping, instead of a solid, continuous extruded pipe, had been used, and the seam deteriorated.
Another boat due in the first part of September is a 56-foot Ed Monk design. She has a steel hull but a wooden house, which will be replaced with an aluminum pilothouse and an aluminum freestanding mast. The boat will also be getting a bulbous bow and a whaleback. — Michael Crowley
NOAA adds to research fleet; 23-foot crab skiff is repaired
In June, VT Halter Marine of Moss Point, Miss., held a combined keel-laying ceremony for two NOAA fishery research boats.
The Bell M. Shimada follows three other fisheries survey boats built to the same design, and the Ferdinand R. Hassler is a new SWATH design.
SWATH is an acronym for small waterplane area twin hull. It's a catamaran-like design, but with only a small amount of the hulls' volume in the area of the waterlines. Much of the displacement for the two hulls is beneath the surface in long pod-like structures.
The Bell M. Shimada will be used for scientific observations and data collection on the West Coast. She will have a steel hull and aluminum superstructure and measure 208' x 49' x 19'.
The main engine is an Ansaldo DHT900, 3,016 hp at 134 rpm. It is expected to push the Bell M. Shimada along at 14 knots. The marine gear hasn't been determined, but the propellers are 14' 1" x 13' 7" five-bladed Rolls-Royce. The ship's service power will run off two 1,360-kW Caterpillar gensets powered by 3512 model engines and a pair of Caterpillar 910-kW gensets with 3508 diesels.
The auxiliary equipment includes a Rapp Hydema trawling system, Huber stern gantry and side frame, AmClyde centerboard handling system, and an Elliott White Gill bow thruster.
The first ship built to this design was the Oscar Dyson. She was delivered to NOAA on Jan. 5, 2005, and operates out of Kodiak, Alaska. The second boat, the Henry B. Bigelow, was delivered in mid-2006. It operates in New England waters. Recent tests showed that the Henry B. Bigelow is one of only a handful of research boats in the world that exceeds international standards as an acoustically quiet boat. With its lower background noise levels, the Henry B. Bigelow is said to be better able to use acoustic devices to assess fish stocks than are noisier boats.
The Pisces is the third boat in the group and is due to be delivered in late 2007. She will initially be out of Pascagoula, Miss.
The Ferdinand R. Hassler's primary mission will be to map the waterways along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, Caribbean Sea and Great Lakes. Because she is a twin-hull design, the boat should be less responsive to wave action than a mono hull and thus provide more accurate readings when conducting basic hydrographic surveys of the seafloor, using side-scan and multibeam sonar technologies. She will work out of New Castle, N.H.
The Ferdinand R. Hassler measures 124' x 61' x 12' and will be powered by two Caterpillar C32 Acert engines rated at 1,450 hp at 2,100 rpm each. Behind the main engines are Reintjes WGF 762 marine gears with 7.899:1 ratios that turn Rolls-Royce magnesium bronze five-bladed props.
Willard Norris of Deltaville, Va., is 81 years old but still building wooden boats. His boatshed on Lovers Lane is one of two remaining boatsheds left on the road that once had a dozen or more.
Although age has slowed Norris down, he still does some boatbuilding. He recently repaired a 23-foot crab skiff he built in 1994 for a Deltaville crab pot fisherman.
"I built the boat in 1994, and he wanted a center console added. And the floorboards had rotted out, so I installed a console and put a new plywood floor in it," Norris says.
"I can't work on the big boats anymore, but I've built a many a 42-footer in my life," he adds.
The flat bottom 23' x 7' x 1' skiff's keel is fir, as is the first side plank; the remaining side planks are juniper, and the cross-planked bottom is spruce pine.
The keel is fastened with stainless steel bolts; otherwise, the fastenings are stainless steel nails. For power, the skiff has a 60-hp Mercury outboard set in a motor well at the stern.
When Norris was growing up on Lovers Lane, he had relatives in the boating business and learned the trade from them. When he and his wife were married in the 1940s, they had a contractor build their home. There was no boatshed outback, but Norris was getting orders for boats. So he completed a crab skiff in their unfinished living room. "I told the contractor I'd have it finished and out of his way before he had the house closed in enough that I couldn't get the boat out. And I did." — Larry Chowning
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